Holliday to test strained quad by running

Garcia expects to make next start; Walden eyes return near All-Star break

Holliday to test strained quad by running

ST. LOUIS -- Having increased the intensity of other exercises while the team was on the road for nine days, left fielder Matt Holliday expects to take another step forward in his rehab work next week by testing his strained right quad with running.

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Given Holliday's progress thus far, general manager John Mozeliak hasn't ruled out a potential return by the outfielder during the team's final road trip of the first half. If Holliday isn't quite ready that early, he's likely to come off the disabled list soon after the All-Star break.

"[It's] just going to be one of those where we keep pushing him a little bit and see how he responds," manager Mike Matheny said. "But more than anything, he feels good, and he's excited to see that finish line for him getting back here. That's not just good for Matt, but good for us."

Holliday suffered the quad strain on June 9 while going after a ball in left field. The Cardinals hesitated to place a timeframe for his return early on, though this bit of recent clarity will help Mozeliak define the team's needs as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

"It certainly gives you an idea of what our needs may or may not be," Mozeliak said. "So knowing that we might get him back before the end of [next] month is certainly a positive."

Other items of note from the training room

• Left-hander Jaime Garcia, who left his start on Wednesday due to cramping near his left groin area, will throw his normal between-starts bullpen session on Saturday and anticipates making his next start as scheduled on Tuesday. An off-day for the team on Monday gives him an extra day to prepare for that outing.

Garcia superb before injury exit

"It's a little sore right now," Garcia said on Friday. "We're doing a lot of work with the trainers and doctors in there to get it ready to go, but I was able to play catch today and throw a bullpen tomorrow. I should be good to go."

Jordan Walden (right biceps strain) continued in his throwing program while the team was on the road and plans to get back on the mound before the end of this homestand. Walden, who has been sidelined since April 30, threw from a distance of 150 feet on Friday as he continues to build arm strength.

"It's feeling a hundred-percent better," Walden said after the latest test. "I've just got to build it back up, strengthen it up and, being able to pitch three days in a row, I've got to get that strength back."

Walden will likely need to spend time on a Minor League rehab assignment before being reinstated to the Major League roster. The Cardinals still anticipate that he'll return around the All-Star break.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.